"This Week in Sporting" is a biweekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City. To visit the series archive, click here.
1. Winning Start
Sporting Kansas City used a Gianluca Busio brace and goals from Daniel Salloi and Wilson Harris to defeat a team of Phoenix Rising FC trialists by a 4-0 scoreline on Saturday to open the 2020 preseason, presented by Children's Mercy. All four goals came from Sporting KC Academy products as Manager Peter Vermes gave playing time to 31 different players in a solid performance at Casino Arizona Field in Tempe, Arizona.
Sporting will close out the first leg of their preseason campaign this Saturday, facing fellow MLS side FC Cincinnati at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Arizona. Kickoff is slated for noon CT.
2. Ready to Launch
Sporting Kansas City fans are invited to attend the club’s 2020 Season Launch Party presented by Ivy Investments on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Children’s Mercy Park. Held in partnership with adidas and Michelob Ultra, the Season Launch Party is free and open to the public. The interactive event will run from 5-8:30 p.m. CT, highlighted by autograph opportunities with all Sporting players and the first the chance to buy Sporting’s newly revealed 2020 secondary jersey.
Supporters planning to attend must secure one of two ticket options via SeatGeek.com. Fans can claim a complimentary ticket, granting free admission to the event, or upgrade to a $10 ticket that includes a 10-item premium food tasting from the newly revamped concession locations at Children’s Mercy Park. Guests will gain entry through mobile ticketing only and can obtain their ticket through the SeatGeek app.
3. Our Kinda Guy
In case you missed it, Sporting Kansas City announced last week that the club has acquired 25-year-old central midfielder Gadi Kinda on a one-year loan from Israeli Premier League side Beitar Jerusalem using Targeted Allocation Money.
Kinda has played over 200 matches in Israel since turning professional in 2011 at age 17. He arrives in Kansas City after starring as one of the Israeli Premier League’s best players during the first half of the 2019-20 season. Before his move to Sporting, the playmaker ranked fourth in the league with a team-best seven goals while also leading the side with four assists.
4. Get Your Tickets
Celebrating its 25th year as a charter member of Major League Soccer, Sporting will kick off the 2020 MLS regular season on Feb. 29 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC before hosting rivals Houston Dynamo in the club’s home opener on March 7.
The best way to guarantee tickets for 2020 home matches is to join the Sporting Kansas City family and become a Season Ticket Member. Several multi-game ticket packages for the 2020 campaign are also on sale, including the limited-time Home Opener Pack that bundles the game on March 7 with two flex matches. Single-game tickets for the first half of Sporting’s home schedule will go on sale to the general public in the near future.
5. Slated for Sporting II
Sporting Kansas City II announced Friday the club's 2020 preseason schedule, consisting of five February friendlies as head coach Paulo Nagamura's side prepares for its fifth year in the USL Championship. The preseason slate will open on Saturday, Feb. 15, when Sporting II travels to face regional rival OKC Energy FC at Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita, Kansas. Seven days later, Sporting II will host USL League Two outfit Texas United in the lone preseason contest at Swope Soccer Village.
The club will then venture south for three tune-ups in the space of five days, meeting a to-be-determined opponent on Feb. 25, reigning USL League One champion North Texas SC on Feb. 27 and rebranded USL Championship side FC Tulsa on Feb. 29. Toyota Soccer Center will play host to the first two games, while the preseason finale will take place at Titan Sports Complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
6. RIP, Mamba
The world of soccer took to Twitter on Sunday to express their shock and sadness at the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. The 41-year-old lost his life in a helicopter crash Sunday in the Los Angeles area, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
Bryant, who spent six years as a child in Italy, where his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant played after an eight-year NBA career, was a noted soccer fan, supporting AC Milan and FC Barcelona. He also attended the LA Galaxy's MLS Cup 2012 win and more recently was a part of an event on Jan. 15 unveiling the league's partnership with BODYARMOR.